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July 6, 2002

Xavier Malisse

WIMBLEDOM, ENGLAND, D. NALBANDIAN/X. Malisse 7-6, 6-4, 1-6, 2-6, 6-2

MODERATOR: First question, please.

Q. How was your health today? Were you feeling all right?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah. Everything was fine. Everything -- everything was normal, as always.

Q. Where did it all go wrong then?

XAVIER MALISSE: Well, I think yesterday in the beginning I didn't play my best. A little stressed. After the rain, it got a little easier. I was more relaxed. And I think today I was just a little bit too stressed. I wasn't really thinking about just having fun; I was thinking about winning. You know, it's unfortunate, maybe, after I was playing really well, and it became dark. You know, that comes with it. That's sport. But, you know, who knows. But today, you know, it's for both the same. You know, I made more mistakes.

Q. When you broke serve to go 2-1 up, how hopeful were you then?

XAVIER MALISSE: Well, I mean, I hadn't -- I didn't play my best three games. You know, I got a break. I was pretty hopeful. I felt like pretty confident. But, you know, I lost my serve on Love, and then I got broke again. You know, that hurts, especially in a five-setter, such a long match. But, you know, he played well. He probably kept his nerve just a little better than I did, and that's why he's going through.

Q. You talk about having fun. But is thinking about winning not a necessary part of being in a Grand Slam semifinal?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, no, it's definitely you think about it. You want to win. You think about winning. But I think once you think about it too much, you're not having fun anymore; you're just too stressful every point. At least for me, I don't know about other players. But, you know, for me, it's most of -- you know, if I have fun, then the winning comes by itself. You know, I think I was just a little too tense today.

Q. Did you have a choice of which court to play on today?

XAVIER MALISSE: No. We had to finish on the court we started on.

Q. What chance do you give David beating Lleyton Hewitt tomorrow? What would he have to do to beat him?

XAVIER MALISSE: Well, he'll have to play really well. Lleyton's No. 1. He's playing really well. He's confident. But it will be a lot from the baseline again. You know, he has his chance, but it will be very tough. You know, on paper, everybody thinks, you know, Lleyton's going to win. You know, we'll see. Maybe there will be a surprise. But it should be, you know, Lleyton.

Q. Do you honestly believe he has the game to beat Lleyton, particularly that he plays from the back court?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, I mean, you know, you never know what happens with baseline rallies on grass. You know, he might have a super day, Lleyton might have a little bit of a less day. You know, everything can change really quickly in a couple of games. So, you know, once you get on the court, it's 50/50 for the players. You know, we'll see how they do.

Q. Were you surprised the way David played today in comparison how he finished the match yesterday?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, he came out really strong. He made a couple mistakes, but not too many. He served really well, got my serve back. You know, he came out really well, and that's probably why, you know, he deserves to be in the final.

Q. And what about you, because you started your first game, you got three aces, but then it seemed the serve didn't work as well as last night?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, I got -- I think last night I was much more loose after being two sets to Love down, you know, you have nothing to lose anymore, you can go for your shots. You know, I was playing really, really well towards the end. You know, darkness didn't help me very much. And today, I think after I broke, I got a little too tense. You know, you start thinking about winning, and that's where it goes wrong.

Q. A lot of people have talked about the heart problem. Is it a major problem? Is it the kind of thing that come back or is it something that hit you hard yesterday?

MODERATOR: Can we just leave the questions on the health, please. I think Xavier has indicated he's fine and well. If we can just have some tennis questions, please.

Q. Can he not speak for himself? If he doesn't want to answer, he can say that.

XAVIER MALISSE: Well, I'll say one thing. You know, it's not -- you know, it's not -- it's blown out of proportion. You know, I was stressed yesterday. I get it sometimes when I'm really stressed. You know, my heart beats faster. You know, I went off the court. They talked to me. You know, obviously I know my body. I know how it feels. You know, I've had it before. It happened twice in the set because I was really tense. And it proved also when I came back out later, you know, nothing happened. So it's nothing, you know, nothing serious. It's just fast heart beatings, and everything else is normal.

Q. It's true that the doctors told you not to come back to the court?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, that's their opinion, you know. They don't know what happened. I've been to a cardiologist, and I've checked everything up. Everything's fine. I mean, there's nothing to worry about.

Q. Yesterday evening you went to a cardiologist?

XAVIER MALISSE: No, just before, like a year ago.

Q. So this is what we would term a benign situation?


Q. Benign, meaning it's not a situation that can cause you any medical danger?

XAVIER MALISSE: No, no. This is -- no, not that.

Q. I'd like to get on to the final tomorrow. When you played Lleyton on grass at Queen's, I think it was last year, did you perceive any weaknesses in his game that you feel that David could take advantage of?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, last year I played -- actually, I lost 4-2. But I played one of the best matches I think I've played all year. I played really well. He didn't have any weakness. Maybe this -- you know, everybody's talking about his forehand, you know, how sometimes it gets off. But, you know, he's steady. You know, he serves well. All his strokes are perfectly fine. You know, he's No. 1 in the world, so it means, you know, he doesn't miss a lot. You know, it will be hard for David. But, you know, he's got to believe. You know, so does Lleyton.

Q. And what you saw of him at the US Open last year, do you think he's playing better at Wimbledon this year compared to that time?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, I think he's having fun. He's more confident. You know, he played really well against Tim yesterday. You know, Tim is one of the grass court specialists. It was three sets to Love. So I think, you know, he's definitely, you know, been playing a lot better on grass. And, you know, he's got a good shot at it.

Q. Can you tell us what you found most difficult about David, most difficult to play against?

XAVIER MALISSE: He doesn't miss much. I think I hit good shots, and they always come back. His second serve slices right into the body, which is pretty good. But, you know, he doesn't miss anything. That's his strongest point. He's fit. Everything comes back.

Q. You seem to be more tired today than yesterday evening. Were you completely fit?

XAVIER MALISSE: Yeah, I mean, obviously I was a little sore, a little tired this morning, which is normal. Probably he was, too. And, you know, once you're at a tournament, everything calms down. Now I'm beat up. It's been a long two weeks with everything. But it was great, you know. Yes, I'm tired, but I've got a couple weeks off, so it will be good.

Q. What will you keep from this tournament? What did you learn?

XAVIER MALISSE: Well, I mean, I didn't expect to be in the semis. I came here to do the best I could do, you know. I didn't know I could play well on grass. It's been a fantastic two weeks. I've enjoyed every moment. I've enjoyed today, even though I lost. It was great. The crowds, the tradition, you know, it all plays a part of it. Yeah, it's probably one of the best two weeks of my life.

End of FastScripts….

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